Ian Andreas Miller. 1 February 2002 (created), 20 August 2003 (revised).
The terms “Inner Senshi” and “Outer Senshi” are what fans use to refer to two groups of characters from the various continuities of Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn. According to some fans, “Inner Senshi” refers to Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mercury, and Sailor Jupiter. “Outer Senshi” refers to Sailor Saturn, Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto. (The Japanese term senshi means fighter, warrior, or soldier. Tuxedo Mask is a senshi, but he is not a sailor senshi. So, he is a senshi by definition. It does not make sense to define Senshi [with a capital s] as a sailor soldier, and then say that he is not a Senshi. The Japanese Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn sources do not use such a rigid definition.) This article attempts to explain the reasoning behind the phrases “Inner Senshi” and “Outer Senshi.” It also provides the official names of those two groups.
Disclaimer: I do not wish to make other people stop using “Inner Senshi” and “Outer Senshi.” (So, please, do not say something like, “Oh, excuse me: soldiers of the outer Solar System. Happy, Ian?” Someone saying that to me is obviously trying to placate me half-heartedly rather than attempting to ascertain truth.) I am writing this partly because I wish to show the oddness of the phrases.
“Inner Senshi” and “Outer Senshi” Are Fan-Created Names
Soldiers of the Four Guardian Deities
Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Mercury are officially referred to as the yon shugo shin no senshi (or yon shugo jin no senshi), which means soldiers of the four guardian deities, in the original version of the manga. (That phrase first appears in act 9 of the manga.) One card shows “Four Guardians” in Roman letters and yon shugo shin (four guardian deities) in Japanese. They are referred to as the Guardians in the new cover editions (shinsban: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon) of the manga books. On page 107 of the second volume of the new cover editions, the katakana-character combination that approximates Guardian ( Gdian) appears above the kanji combination shugo senshi, which means guardian soldier. On page 129 of that same book, the katakana-character combination that approximates Guardians ( Gdianzu) appears above shugo senshi-tachi, which means guardian soldiers. (SailorJupiter244 scanned those pictures from the book.)
Soldiers of the Outer Solar System
Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto introduce themselves in the anime and manga as the gaibu taiykei san senshi, which means three soldiers of the outer Solar System. On page 116 of the Materials Collection, Sailor Saturn, Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto are referred to as the gaibu taiykei yon senshi, which means four soldiers of the outer Solar System. This card shows the same phrase. Act 39 shows Michiru speaking with Haruka and Setsuna. She mentions the phrase gaibu taiykei senshi, which means soldiers of the outer Solar System. In episode 196 of the anime, Hotaru identifies herself as one of the soldiers of the outer Solar System ( gaibu taiykei senshi).
Gaibu Means Outer in Gaibu Taiykei
There are several ways to show that the phrase gaibu taiykei means outer Solar System or the outside part of the Solar System, not out of the Solar System or beyond the limits of the Solar System. The Japanese use gaibu taiykei to refer to the outer Solar System. That phrase contains gaibu, which usually means the outside or external, not just out of. It can also mean outer. The gai means outside, and the bu means part. So, gaibu can refer to the outside part, the external part, or outer part of something. The outer part of the Solar System is still part of the Solar System, but it is not out of the Solar System.
In Japanese volume 9 of the manga, Sailor Uranus says, “Gaibu taiykei kaze no hoshi Tennsei...” (), which means the outer Solar System’s planet of the wind, Uranus. Sailor Neptune then says, “Gaibu taiykei umi no hoshi Kaisei...” (), which means the outer Solar Systems’s planet of the sea, Neptune. (The Japanese term hoshi can mean star, but it can also indicate any celestial body in our sky.) There is no way that gaibu taiykei means out of the Solar System because the planets Uranus and Neptune are in the outer Solar System. The outer Solar System is still part of the Solar System! Sailor Pluto does not say the phrase gaibu taiykei in her speech, but we are to understand that Pluto is also in the outer Solar System.
On page 112 of the Nakayoshi Anime Album II of the S series of the anime, it states that the gaibu taiykei san senshi (Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto) are supposed to fight off invaders from out of the Solar System. The Japanese phrase that means outside the Solar System is taiykeigai. The phrase taiykeigai wakusei refers to a planet that exists outside our Solar System. (The phrase taiykei gaienbu refers to the outer Solar System. The term gaienbu means outer edge.)
Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto, and Sailor Saturn represent planets in our Solar System in the anime, manga, and Sera Myu. As far as we know, they do not represent anything out of the Solar System. So, when the term taiykei appears in phrases that describe the gaibu taiykei yon senshi as a group, it must mean outer Solar System.
“Inner Senshi” and “Outer Senshi” Are Ambiguous.
The phrases “Inner Senshi” and “Outer Senshi” are inherently vague and ambiguous. What is the “Inner” in “Inner Senshi” referring to? How are those soldiers inner? They are supposed to be inner relative to what? How are those “Outer Senshi” outer? They are supposed to be outer relative to what? There are no definite answers to those questions. For all we know, “Inner” and “Outer” could be referring to the bellybuttons of those characters!
“Inner planet” and “outer planet” works well with the nine planets in our Solar System because the asteroid belt between the planet Mars and the planet Jupiter forms the boundary between the inner Solar System and the outer Solar System. (“Inner planet” more usually refers to the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The Japanese can refer to those planets as nai wakusei. “Outer planet” more usually refers to the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.) The Japanese can refer to those planets as gai wakusei.) In that case, there is a defined point of reference: the asteroid belt. The inner planets stay in the part of the Solar System that is nearer to the sun relative to the asteroid belt, and the outer planets stay in the part of the Solar System that is farther away from the sun relative to the asteroid belt. That classification system for the nine planets does not work well with the eight planetary sailor soldiers of our Solar System. As far as we know, there is not one defined point of reference to make the eight soldiers themselves either inner or outer. Consequently, “Inner planet” and “outer planet” do not work the same way that “Inner Senshi” and “Outer Senshi” would. The soldiers do not claim that they themselves are inner or outer in the anime and manga. If they did claim to be either inner or outer themselves, then we would not know the point of reference. The point of reference cannot be the asteroid belt because the soldiers who represent outer planets can move from the outer Solar System to the inner Solar System. Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto, and Sailor Saturn spend a great deal of time on Earth. When they think of themselves as a group, and they mention the Japanese term that means outer, they are clear about the context. Outer is used in the context of outer Solar System. They are saying that they represent the outer Solar System.
Outer Planets, Therefore Inner Planets?
Some fans of Bishjo Senshi Sr Mn seemed to have concluded that since Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto, and Sailor Saturn are soldiers who represent outer planets, that means that Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mercury, and Sailor Jupiter must be soldiers who represent inner planets. However, such an assumption is not justified because the anime and manga sources do not show that a sailor soldier needs to represent a planet in the inner Solar System in order to be one of the yon shugo shin no senshi. It is a fallacy of composition: at least one member of the yon shugo shin no senshi may represent inner planets, but that does not mean that the group contains just soldiers who represent inner planets. As far as the anime and manga continuities are concerned, whether a sailor soldier’s planet is in the inner Solar System or in the outer Solar System is not said to be relevant to her membership of that group.
Outer Planet: Astrology Versus Astronomy
There is no consensus on what an outer planet is in Western astrology. The writers of the book Cosmic Connections (Mysteries of the Unknown) claimed that the outer planets are Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto because they were discovered in recent times. They thought of Jupiter as in inner planet. The famous astrologer Sydney Omarr, in his book New Millennium Guide, claimed that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are all outer planets. According to the Super Horoscope book series, only Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are the outer planets. However, in astronomy (which is a real science), the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are thought of as outer planets.
Naoko Takeuchi (the one who created the characters) does not explicitly say whether she thinks that the planet Jupiter is an inner or outer planet, but we cannot assume that she thought that the planet Jupiter is an inner planet simply because Sailor Jupiter is one of the guardians of the princess. Before we can make such an assumption, we have to come up with evidence that shows that Ms. Takeuchi intended the members of the yon shugo shin no senshi to represent only inner planets. Such evidence has never been found. It is more likely that Ms. Takeuchi did consider the planet Jupiter to be an outer planet because astronomy is much more consistent than astrology is.
The Princess’ Inner Circle
Some fans have suggested that the phrase “Outer Senshi” refers to the four sailor soldiers who represent planets in the Solar System and who are outside the Moon Princess’ (Usagi’s or Sailor Moon’s) ‘inner circle.’ In other words, the sailor soldiers Sailor Saturn, Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto protect the Princess from a distance. (In that case, why are they not called the “Outside Senshi”?) Those fans also think that the phrase “Inner Senshi” refers to Sailors Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus because they are the immediate protectors of the Princess. Those four characters are inside the Princess’ “inner circle” and they protect planets in the Solar System. Those explanations of the phrases “Inner Senshi” and “Outer Senshi” leave out the Sailor Quartetto (Sailor Ceres, Sailor Pallas, Sailor Juno, and Sailor Venus) because they represent asteroids instead of planets. (It is not clear why those explanations consider only sailor soldiers who represent planets.)
Those explanations of the “Inner” in “Inner Senshi” and the “Outer” in “Outer Senshi” cannot be backed up in the official sources. The anime and manga sources use the Japanese term that means outer ( gaibu) in phrases that refer to Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto, and Sailor Saturn as a group. Those phrases contain the Japanese phrase that means outer Solar System ( gaibu taiykei), so the phrases are using the term gaibu in a specific way. The Japanese term, in those phrases, has nothing to do with the Princess’ inner circle. So, the “Outer” in “Outer Senshi” is referring to something different from the outer ( gaibu) in the phrases that refer to the four aforementioned characters as a group from the anime and manga sources.
Sailormoon World: Gaibu Senshi
Gaibu Senshi, which means outer soldier, appears on a page of the Japanese “Sailormoon World” coloring book, but just the non-transformed Setsuna is shown on that page. That phrase is just as ambiguous as “Outer Senshi” because we are not told how and why that soldier is outer. How, then, could we honestly say that Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Saturn are also gaibu senshi according to the writer or writers of that book?
Sailormoon World: Gai Kei Senshi
The producers of the “Sailormoon World” items released a certain set of figurines of the characters. That set’s description uses the phrase gai kei senshi, which means outside system soldiers. This prompts several questions. What system does the phrase mean? What do those soldiers have to do with the outside the system? Should Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon be considered gai kei senshi, too?
Sera Myu: “Outside Soldiers”
“Outside Soldiers” appears on a Sera Myu song (Broken MĂ–BIUS), but that is also ambiguous. What is outside about those soldiers? Why are they outside? Are they out of the Princess’ “inner circle”? They cannot be soldiers of outside the Solar System because they represent planets in the outer Solar System, which is still inside the Solar System.
Sera Myu: Naibu Taiykei Senshi
Naibu taiykei senshi allegedly is mentioned during the “Sailor Senshi-tachi Comment” track on the Shin Densetsu Krin CD. Akari Tonegawa, the person who plays Sailor Jupiter in the Eien Densetsu program of Sera Myu, apparently is the one who mentions that phrase. Moreover, at least one of the official Sera Myu sources uses the phrase naibu taiykei sr senshi. If Akari Tonegawa and those sources are not acknowledging Sailor Jupiter as one of the naibu taiykei [sr] senshi, then it is not enough to conclude that all of the soldiers who are not of the outer Solar System represent planets in the inner Solar System. Even now, Jupiter has not specifically been referred to as an inner planet, even in the Sera Myu sources. We need to avoid the fallacy of composition.
If Akari Tonegawa and those Sera Myu sources are acknowledging Sailor Jupiter as one of the soldiers of the inner Solar System, then the soldiers who represent celesial bodies that are closer to the sun than Jupiter would technically be naibu taiykei senshi whether they are acknowledged or not. Tuxedo Mask would be one of those soldiers because he is the soldier who represents Earth. Naibu taiykei senshi does not specifically refer to sailor soldiers. It also does not specifically refer to just planets, so Sailor Ceres, Sailor Pallas, Sailor Juno, Sailor Vesta, and even Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon would be naibu taiykei senshi, too. There is no reason to restrict that phrase to just Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mercury, and Sailor Jupiter even if “Inner Senshi” is used to refer to those four characters. Whatever the case may be, naibu taiykei senshi is a Sera Myu phrase, so we should not assume that Ms. Takeuchi would have used it.
If Sailor Jupiter is one of the naibu taiykei senshi in the Sera Myu continuities, and she is on Earth, and the planet Jupiter can be a planet of the outer Solar System, one could argue that naibu taiykei senshi means that Sailor Jupiter is a soldier who is presently in the inner Solar System whether or not her planet is also in the inner Solar System. Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto, and Sailor Saturn are also naibu taiykei senshi in that sense even if they are not acknowledged as naibu taiykei senshi. Those four characters are also gaibu taiykei senshi because their planets are in the outer Solar System. If the planet Jupiter is in the outer Solar System, then Sailor Jupiter can be one of the naibu taiykei senshi and simultaneously according to the definitions of those phrase that were explained earlier in this paragraph. In that case, Sailor Mercury can be one of the naibu taiykei senshi, but she is not one of the because her planet is not in the outer Solar System.
Who Are the Leaders of the Groups?
Some fans have asked “Who is the leader of the ‘Inner Senshi’?” and “Who is the leader of the ‘Outer Senshi’?” These are tricky questions because the Japanese sources will not even help us define those phrases. We can, however, see which characters are called leaders.
In act 9 of the manga, we are told that Sailor Venus is the leader of the soldiers of the four guardian deities (Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury). The sources that cover only the first series of the anime tell us who is the leader of the sailor soldiers, but they contradict each other. The Authoritative Edition book of the first series states that Sailor Moon is the leader of the sailor soldiers, but the Nakayoshi Anime Album II of the first series states that Sailor Venus is the leader. (Sailor Venus does not act much like a leader.) The SuperS Movie Memorial Album contains a section that gives detailed descriptions of the main sailor soldiers. That book’s Sailor Venus section states that she is the leader of a group that comprises five sailor soldiers. The book also introduces Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto, and Sailor Saturn. We know that Sailor Venus leads a particular group of sailor soldiers, but which sailor soldiers make up that group? The writer of that book was probably inspired by the information from the Nakayoshi Anime Album II of the first series. Since Sailor Venus is more associated with Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Mercury, she seems to be part of a group that also includes her four companions.
Many sources claim that, in the manga, Sailor Saturn is the leader of the “Outer Senshi” or the gaibu taiykei senshi. This idea seems to have come from a misinterpretation of what Hotaru states in manga volume 14. Alex Glover’s translation makes Hotaru say, “Now it’s my turn to lead you! To everyone!” In English, the term lead can mean command or guide. The Japanese word that Hotaru uses is michi, which means lead as in guide. Hotaru leads her associates to the other sailor soldiers, but she does not say that she commands her group!
Ken Arromdee’s Sailor Moon FAQ states, “In the anime, Sailor Pluto claims to be the leader (of the outers?) in episode 171.” However, Sailor Pluto really says, “A leader is someone that unites people, like you, Sailor Venus!” Never in that episode is it stated that Sailor Pluto is a leader of anything. If anyone then is being referred to as a leader, that someone would be Sailor Venus.
Other Fan-Created Terms
Fan-created terms are not inherently bad. The ones that are not misleading can be handy when we wish to be concise.
- Princess’ Guardians: this can be used instead of “Inner Senshi.” The “inside the Princess’ inner circle” is already suggested by the term Guardians, and there is no reference to whether the members of this group represent inner planets or outer planets. Whether Sailor Jupiter’s planet is an inner planet or outer planet does not seem to be relevant to her status as the Princess’ personal guardian.
- Outer-Planet Soldiers: this can be used instead of “Outer Senshi.” If we wish to think of those characters as soldiers from planets in the outer Solar System, or if we wish to think of them as “planetary sailor soldiers who are outside the Princess’ “inner circle,” then “Outer-Planet Soldiers” still works. “Outer-Planet Soldiers” is perhaps the shortest phrase that retains the original idea of how Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto, and Sailor Saturn represent planets in the outer Solar System. Some people may complain about how “Outer-Planet Soldiers” is too long. However, Sailor Heavy Metal Papillon has more written symbols in it than “Outer-Planet Soldiers” has. The manuever name Venus Love and Beauty Shock has more written symbols in it than “Outer-Planet Soldiers” has. If a fan is willing to write Sailor Heavy Metal Papillon and Venus Love and Beauty Shock, then he or she should not have a problem with writing “Outer-Planet Soldiers.”